CHICAGO — As e-commerce continues to grow as a portion of the economy, supply chains are increasingly depending on warehouse robotics to meet the demand, according to presenters at Automate 2017 here yesterday.
“Shoppers made 51% of their purchases online last year. The surge has pushed e-retailers to their limits,” said Lior Elazary, founder and CEO of inVia Robotics. “Consumers don’t realize that when they click ‘Add to cart,’ it requires a team of people to handle this.”
Simply adding humans to handle all of the additional work of order fulfillment, including packing and shipping, isn’t enough, he added.
There’s a shortage of labor, and many of these jobs are physical in nature, requiring a lot of lifting and quick, repetitive movements. So turnover for these jobs is high. Amazon.com Inc. is hiring 30,000 part-time workers in the coming year, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Warehouse robotics becomes the rule
“As a result, automation is the rule, not the exception for e-tailers that want to stay competitive,” Elazary said.
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